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Electronic cigarettes need to be regulated

Electronic cigarettes entered the market almost 10 years ago, and between 2008 and 2012, sales increased from 50,000 to 3.5 million, according to USA Today.

Now, the multiflavored vapor is finally catching regulators’ attentions: Doctors of the Pennsylvania Medical Society believe that e-cigarettes should have the same regulations as tobacco products, despite e-cigarettes being advertised as safe and socially conscious alternatives to cigarettes.

People should know more about e-cigarettes before they decide how they should be regulated, but unfortunately, they’re already a fixture in the market. Pennsylvania physicians are right, at least for now: While analysts gather statistics on the effects of e-cigarettes and their secondhand vapors, e-cigarettes that contain nicotine should be regulated just like their tobacco-flavored counterparts. E-cigarettes seem like an easy fix to the problem of secondhand smoke, but they should be treated with caution.

With e-cigarettes, there is no secondhand smoke, but more importantly, they don not use any tobacco. As such, the risk for developing cancer is drastically lower. However, a recent study from France’s National Consumer Institute suggested that e-cigarettes are potentially carcinogenic. This study reveals an immediate need for more studies on the effects of e-cigarettes. Little research has been conducted on e-cigarettes, and no one seems to know much about what happens when a person breathes the vapor for even a short period of time.

The FDA currently treats e-cigarettes as if they have tobacco, which makes sense — nicotine is just as addictive without the tobacco. However, federal law doesn’t bar sale to minors, although certain states prohibit selling e-cigarettes to minors. Currently, Pennsylvania is not one of them — but it should be.

The purpose of e-cigarettes is to deliver nicotine to the body. Unfortunately, they are still largely unregulated, and this lack of regulation could pose a big problem as their popularity increases. We need to know more about their effects soon so that proper regulations can be put in place.